According to information received by Plunderbund, the newly appointed leadership team at the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is working on a plan that will likely result in a 40% staff reduction at the department’s central office.

The new ODOT Strategic Plan is slated for release on Monday, August 8th and while they are still working out some of the details, we have been told that the “planning, construction, engineering” divisions “have been told to plan for 40% staff reduction over an as-yet unknown period of time.” An internal ODOT memo describes likely changes:

· This should not hit core areas
· Won’t dump on districts
· Outsourcing may be used
· Lay-offs have not been mentioned
· Every section will take a hit

It’s very difficult to see how ODOT could reduce their central office staff of 500+ WITHOUT layoffs. But it’s almost guaranteed that ODOT’s plan, as mentioned in the memo, will involve “outsourcing” – which likely means eliminating bargaining unit (unionized) positions and replacing them with consultants.

People familiar with ODOT have expressed concerns that this will directly impact the time it takes for major new construction and the associated engineering to get approved. And since ODOT administers numerous federal funding streams, having fewer staff could mean it takes longer to get the money out the door and less oversight to make sure it’s being spent appropriately.

Non-highway programs like Safe Routes to School, airports, transit are already minimally staffed. Cuts to these programs would almost guarantee that ODOT would be out of the multi-model business altogether. In addition, replacing ODOT staff with more consultants would further decentralize the department and make strategic, statewide efforts increasingly difficult while increasing financial and other risks within the department.

It’s the job of the production and construction divisions to ensure the public gets a good value from the billions in design and construction work performed by consultants every year. Staff reductions could end up outsourcing plan review and inspection functions – which means we could end up with private consultants managing and reviewing the work of other private consultants with little no safety, quality or financial oversight being done by ODOT itself.

By next week we should know for sure how ODOT plans to make these cuts – and who will be directly impacted. But we can all be assured that cutting nearly half the staff at the ODOT central office will ultimately impact all of us – and not for the better.

 
  • Xx

    Republicans making their dream of a failed government come true at the speed of business.

  • Anonymous

    laser focused on jobs!

  • dlw

    That’s now how many out of work thanks to the new budget? The Dept. of Ed. should also be announcing their next round of layoffs in the next couple of weeks.

  • Guest

    Ladies and gentlemen, witness the self-induced extinction of the Republican Party. 

    Finally!

  • Anonymous

    This massive planned layoff is a device to pay back all those generous GOP contributors and their families.  As the unionized workers get kicked out the front door or forced to resign because of a “relocation” of their jobs out of the county where they live, unqualified, brainless, relatives of major GOP contributors will get cushy jobs as “independent contractors” or as “consultants.”  The new Republicans brought in to fill the jobs won’t know much, and won’t have the training to do the jobs, but they will get paid $95,000/year, and have plenty of time to sell cosmetics, conduct their private business, and work on their college degree.  When the snow comes, I’m guessing that the snow removal on state roads will get privatized as well. Which road construction company, that has been generous to the Republican Party, will “win” the “bid” to work the snow plows???? 

  • Pragmatic_one

    The war on workers continues. Cut them, pay them less, outsource them all for short term profit or, in this case, short term political payola. This process has been going for decades and we are now reaping the fruits: high umemployment, lower pay and of course lower spending because good hard working people are living in absolute fear of their economic futures. All to placate about 1% of the population.

    It’s sickening and it has to stop. Cut, cut, cut. Both corporations and government. Where is the future? What do you tell kids to study? There are no job fields that look stable in America. What do you tell a 50 year old guy who gets axed from a $70K job and is set into this economy, where he likely won’t be able to find any professional level work for 18 months, if ever. How is someone like that supposed to live out their remaining 30 or so years with any dignity whatsoever? 

  • Pragmatic_one

    You know absolutely nothing about this situation. Zip. ODOT is not a bloated bureacracy by any stretch of the imagination. No agency in Ohio could be categorized as such by any sane person. And, if it was, why are the ‘outsourcing’ the work? If it was bloated, there would be too many people there in the first place and no work to go around. But apparently, that is not the case.

    Rot in Hell Tea Bagger.

  • It’s easy for a governor to issue a directive like this when he sits on a pile a cash he got from Wall Street and his in-laws. 

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    People at ODOT have been told they hope “most” of the slimming down will be from people retiring at the end of this year and next. Wray told Kasich back in Feb he could slim down Odot by 500. . Their goal is have only 5000 people in Odot.This IS the whole dept –all 12 districts. Fact is if you only had 50 people retire in every district  thats 600 folks.
    Outsourcing has been talked about since these people took over. Yes a lot of contracts will go to “pals” because they want to change how bids are done. They are sneaky and put changes in legislation all the time. HB 153 has all kinds of junk in it.
    There has been a notice sent out saying Odot will hear soon of the “reorganizing plans”.
    All this is being done by a guy ( Wray) who is getting retirement benefits and a pay check–yes my friends a “double dipper”. Odd- hes considered a state employee also — difference is — after this fiasco he can go back to collecting retirement money — the rest, well ,some wont survive a second “reorganizing “. I suspect that if SB5 goes down in Nov these people will resort to layoffs — very vendictive group you have in now.
    People out there should be aware that the “consultants” they will hire will make more money than anyone employed at Odot now for the same job.
    This statement made above   “we could end up with private consultants managing and reviewing the work of other private consultants with little no safety, quality or financial oversight being done by ODOT itself. ”  is a very true statement. 
    Also check out how many –assistants– Wray has as opposed to how many the old admistrator had.(The ol buddie systems struck again and what they make a year )
    This is just the beginning ………….. all better hope its a light winter …………… these are the folks that clean the highways , clean up after storms etc. Regardless of what the public thinks ,its a dangerous job, and experience plays a huge roll in it. 

  • I’m so glad people are waking up!  Be strong Ohio!

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    ok part 2 of this is — after doing a little checking  on ohio.gov
    there are at least 150– 170 — jobs posted in all agencies in Ohio
    15 are in the dept of trans (Odot) 8 are –surprise!– in central office. One of which is DD5 –BIG money $5000 to $10,000 a month ….wonder which one of their pals needs a job .The lowest paid people– HT1’s  –4 are posted — and guess who really works? yup the HT1’s.
    so lets ask –If we are so strapped for funds and there are to many state employess–how can you continue to post jobs? How can you plan to slim down ODOT and have 15 posted jobs?
    No, sorry, the unions have not a thing to do with the postings –the postings are sent to DAS for review  and they decide whether they get posted or not.
    There are numerous jobs posted for corrections and we all know there are 1300 plus getting the ax. Now it could be people retired and these are support jobs that need filled. ((Looks like  medical stuff at a glance.))
    Why was there not a hiring freeze put into effect– has been done before.That would certainly cut down on expenses–no jobs posted no new employees –save on pension and health benefits–need I go on.
    The everyday John Q Public should wake up they are getting wool pulled over there eyes  — and if you need a job look on the jobs site  for Ohio.
    We all need to ask — Whats going on here

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    PS  you will all be told that privatizing and consultants are quicker, faster , cheaper etc.—
    well when they get in a position its very strange all the rules the agencies go by –well some how the rules are changed or simply disappear– and are never cheaper

  • dlw

    My guess is that many of those jobs will be filled by people who are already with the posting agency… so not new hires… they generally still have to post the positions, even if they have an in-house person they’re interested in.

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